THE USE OF SMALL TOYS
The small hand made toys in the photograph were amongst those I used when I began the work for the paper I wrote in 1984 while attending the Special Needs Course in (as it was then) Jordanhill College of Education. It was entitled Aspects of the Development and Use of Small Toys in Making Therapeutic contact with Young Children. The rather long title was contrived to fit in with what I was choosing to focus on.
It had involved eight hours of observation in Notre Dame Child Guidance Clinic, the presentation of a sand tray and small toys to fifty children in three different settings: a nursery school, a primary school and a special school. It also involved a discussion of the pioneering work of Hermione von Hug Hellmuth, Anna Freud, Melanie Klein and Margaret Lowenfeld in developing the use of play with young children. Fifty photographs of the children's tray constructions, with comments about the sessions during which they were produced, were provided in an appendix.
Looking at it for the first time after many years some of the comments I found to be of interest are below.
'A sand tray and toys will, of course, now become an integral part of the environment in my work in a Child Guidance Unit. I have no doubt of the extent to which this will be beneficial both for me and the children'
'As regards the reading associated with this enquiry, and the opportunity to observe at Notre Dame Child Guidance Clinic, I feel my professional perspective, knowledge and awareness has been changed, sharpened and deepened'
'I believe, like many before me, that given the appropriate materials and resources, children use them in their own special way to work at, work through and resolve many of their own problems and difficulties'
'Piloting the use of the tray and toys in these environments, and developing situations in which they could be constructively used in a therapeutic and beneficial way, will form a major part of my future investigation into the subject'
'What I have achieved so far is merely the placing of a toe in the water. It is my intention, if at all possible, to take a swim in the ocean'